WOW! 2020 has been quite the year so far hasn’t it? For those of you that were considering buying or selling a home, Covid-19 likely threw a monkey wrench into your plans!
Now that we have started to flatten the curve here in Nova Scotia. and restrictions are beginning to lift, I’m sure a lot of you are revisiting the idea but perhaps have some concerns about your health and safety during the process.
For a lot of people buying or selling a home is a choice that could be put on pause during the pandemic, however, there are many that were forced to proceed as it was a necessity. Due to this, real estate was deemed to be an essential service so my colleagues and I were forced to adapt.
Over the past decade we have seen a huge shift in the way that people shop for homes. Consumers now have an abundance of information at their fingertips, and choose to view homes online well before they are ready to physically view a home or make a purchase. We as agents have been providing professional photos, virtual walk-throughs, and online marketing for years to help gain more exposure for our seller clients homes, and make it easier to connect our buyer clients with the homes that they want to purchase. However, there inevitably comes a time when you need to physically view the home, and once you’ve entered into a contract there are numerous processes that normally would require a face to face meeting. This is where we needed to make changes.
I’m sure in this point in the game most of you have heard of Zoom, and most likely have had some experience with it either for work, or a virtual social gathering with friends. Although virtual meetings are not a new thing, given the current circumstances these have become a necessity, especially in real estate transactions. From the initial buyer or seller consult, contract signing, to closing day, these virtual meetings have allowed us to provide our service while maintaining social distance requirements to keep all parties involved safe.
We have also incorporated a screening process. Before we meet with any client, they are required to fill out a disclosure form that asks questions regarding travel, flu like symptoms, or if they have had any contact with someone with flu like symptoms. If they have, there is to be no showing or meeting, no exceptions. The only people who are permitted to physically view the property are the people named on the offer to limit potential exposure, which is also non negotiable.
When entering or leaving a property we are disinfecting all exterior doors, as well as the lockbox. We have asked our Sellers to leave all interior doors open, lights on, so there is no need for anyone to touch anything inside the home as that is not permitted. Upon entering the home hand sanitizer is to be used by all parties, and the agent will be wearing a mask and gloves as an added precaution.
Although it seems the worst is behind us in regards to the pandemic, we do plan to keep incorporating these practices and upholding the directions of the public health authorities until the pandemic has subsided. Your safety and well being is our priority.
Megan Holwell, Halifax Real Estate and Lifestyle